Outlook is pessimistic for sensitive species

Re: “Forests Ministry pushing grizzlies to extinction,” comment, Sept. 25.

Anthony Britneff decries the inevitable decline of grizzlies in the southern part of the province, due to excessive logging and the lack of diligent stewardship by government.

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What else did we expect?

When government agendas at both the federal and provincial levels are focused so totally and myopically on economic development to the exclusion of any other values, it is not hard to predict the future of our province’s wildlife. As the last of the old-growth forest disappears, more watersheds are harnessed with independent power projects and more and more valleys invaded with pipelines, transmission lines and roads, those species that cannot tolerate human disturbance — grizzlies, wolves, cougars, wolverines, caribou — will gradually disappear.

The hypocritical government sound bite that B.C. is “the best place to be” is true, if you are a developer. Drastic reductions in staff and funding for environmental programs and the euphemistic “streamlining” of regulations (read “reducing environmental protection”) means that for those of us who especially cherish those iconic wildlife that the world associates most with British Columbia, the future is pessimistic indeed.

James Walker

Former assistant deputy minister

Ministry of Environment

Victoria

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